by Herman Manson (@marklives) Webfluential, the web platform that connects brands with social-media influencers, has announced a deal through which Naspers’ digital media sales company, The SpaceStation (TSS), will be representing its sales portfolio to marketers. On launch last year, Webfluential said it aimed to help standardise business practices, and offer transparent and accurate data on online influencers.

Webfluential logo 2014MarkLives caught up with Webfluential CEO, Steven Murray, to find out how this deal is expected to affect its business, the management of influencer relationships and what marketers can expect to pay for influencer campaigns.

MarkLives logoWebfluential has just signed a deal for it to be represented by The SpaceStation. What does this mean for Webfluential?

Steven Murray: Webfluential’s aim has always been to bridge the divide between influential publishers and brands. This deal cements the notion that digital marketing spans not only display media, but also the advertorial and social space to generate online discussion. We are chuffed that the partnership will foster more brands venturing into the digital-conversation space.

MarkLives logoWhy did you decide to outsource sales?

SM: The platform looks to foster relationships on both sides of the fence. Going forward, TSS will manage sales and campaign management, their core competency and reason behind their recent MOST award; and Webfluential will foster influencer relationships, locally and into Africa.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray

MarkLives logoIs Webfluential generating substantial revenue yet and what is the expectation, now that you have access to a considerable digital-sales force?

SM: More than 470 marketing and PR companies have used Webfluential’s influencers to run influencer-marketing campaigns, product reviews, launches, market research and audience-marketing campaigns. Webfluential is profitable and already considering options for a US and European market entry. We feel TSS is best-placed to add this product line to their existing relationships and work with marketers.

MarkLives logoCan you update us on the number of influencers who have signed up to be part of Webfluential?

SM: 1450, reaching a global audience of 25 million people.

MarkLives logoWho is the kind of influencer that marketers are currently most engaged with through your platform, and how has this evolved since you launched?

SM: The largest number of requests come from motoring and alcohol brands for campaigns. The general bias is towards consumer brands, with the digital foundation forming a particular LSM target.

MarkLives logoWhat is the recommended average budget for a social-influencer campaign? And how do you measure ROI?

SM: Average budgets range from R30k to R150k, depending on the duration and audience reach of the campaign. We report on all social conversations [and] provide leads of who was interested in the product/service, as well as an aggregated AVE. Our development team is working with deeper insights from an analytics point of view that we’ll start sharing in the coming months.

MarkLives logoDo you have any case studies available on succesful influencer campaigns run through Webfluential?

SM: Smirnoff #explorethenight
Springbok rugby jersey launch
SuperSport “We are Brazil” [FIFA] World Cup campaign
Disney’s “Doc McStuffins” launch
Nando’s “Mass hysteria” awareness campaign
Sun International Miss SA
Citadel #Inspired event launch

MarkLives logoFinally, when you launched, you hoped to create some sort of reasonable framework to protect consumers, within which you expected influencers to work. Have you made progress here and what does that framework currently look like?

SM: That remains our aim. On the influencer side, they opt in to every campaign, and are well-briefed before committing. They indicate that content is sponsored or advertorial. On the marketer side, the guidance provided on the briefing document, and the internal process in selecting the influencers, also provides transparency to their tone of communication and guidance on some of the brands they like, or don’t.

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